Should I Create a Mobile Center of Excellence?

By Natalie Cheng | Nov 20, 2017

You may have heard of the term ‘center of excellence’. What does it mean exactly? A center of excellence refers to a team or entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, and training for a particular area. These centers are present in various industries such as technology, education, and business. For example, in forensics, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) exists to test, evaluate, and provide technology transition assistance for crime labs and other agencies that combat crime. In education, the term refers to a network of institutions that collaborate to pursue excellence. In technology companies, the center of excellence is associated with things like software and other technologies. A mobile center of excellence is similar but focused solely on mobile.

Drivers for Developing Mobile Centers of Excellence

A Mobile Center of Excellence (mCoE) is a type of center of excellence which includes a group of people that are set aside in IT as the knowledge center in mobile. People in the organization can come to this center of excellence to get guidance and advice on policies and procedures if they want to pursue a mobile project. The mCoE helps facilitate mobile initiatives and acts as a gatekeeper to make sure the most important initiatives get approved in the enterprise. According to an IDC whitepaper, mobile centers of excellence “help to establish a centralized strategy, governance, and set of standards – from both technological and organizational perspectives – to facilitate a scalable strategic enterprise mobility program”.

The key drivers for developing a mCoE include a need for alignment and agility, mobile app and website development requirements,  BYOD programs, and an emphasis on accountability and measurement. With an increase in decentralization of IT purchasing and increasingly complex business units, companies need IT alignment in regards to mobile. A mobile center of excellence can help control technology selection and reduce costs of duplicate work. With a mCoE, organizations can prioritize mobility projects, share best practices, and help direct software development lifecycle principles.

Another driver to consider is the implementation of BYOD programs across various organizations. The mCoE can help govern BYOD programs in areas such as strategy, standards, and business needs. Even though BYOD is a hot topic among enterprise IT, we find that the ultimate key driver for developing a mCoE is to emphasize and increase accountability and measurement. Creating a mCoE can ensure consistency for mobility projects that are tied directly to core business objectives.

Assembling a Team

In order to get benefits from a mCoE, you will need to assemble a team. The members that are part of the mobile center of excellence aren’t necessarily the ones doing the development. Instead, they are ambassadors or liaisons that have that 30,000 foot view to oversee the brand and ensure that it is standard across all the initiatives.

In order to create successful Mobile Centers of Excellence, you will need to look at including these following roles:

  • Designers

  • Developers

  • Quality Assurance Specialist

  • Scrum Master

Once you figure out the roles you will need in your team, you or someone in human resources should look for certain personality characteristics in the hiring process. Since mobile is an emerging technology that continues to change, you need people that are curious, opinionated, and passionate. They will have to be interested in keeping up with technological trends and staying ahead of the curve so that they can drive innovation.

See additional tips for building a strong team.

There are many challenges that come with assembling a mobile center of excellence and introducing a new technology initiative. Change can be hard, and you will need to learn how to work with both early adopters and laggards in order to show the benefits of a technology initiative. Ultimately, building a mobile center of excellence will take work, but it helps an organization decrease its mobile app development costs in the long term. Along with financial benefits, the mCoE will help improve software quality assurance while maintaining the organization’s brand throughout these initiatives.

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